Two days in a row was a real bonus for me as, returning to my paying job, it was now difficult scheduling the rest of the work. I was happy to be back in some sort of routine, and very happy to arrive at Roger’s retreat centre to continue where I left off yesterday.
Roger had put the canoe in the driveway, where there was more light for me to finish the major sanding job that was interrupted by the power failure yesterday. Driving up to the house and seeing the canoe warmed my heart. It looked almost ready to taste the water once again, after years of being land-locked.
As a result, my sanding job had significantly increased overnight. But I was happy to undertake the task. I took my time, as I wanted to ensure the decks and gunwales were completely smooth and blended together. I also decided to sand out the remnants of the old decal, as it looked like a dirty blob instead of a real decal. Since the rest of the canoe gleamed, it now looked totally out-of-place. I already had enough pictures to (hopefully) help in locating the manufacturer, so it didn’t worry me to see it vanish under the sander. After the mahogany decks were sanded, they looked so good that I decided to keep them natural, with only varnish as the finish. This will (I hope) pleasantly offset the darker interior and gunwales. After a final hand sanding ,and blowing away of the dust, I was ready to stain so we took the canoe back inside.
The staining took longer than I expected. I found the best way was to use a rag dipped into the stain and ‘brush’ it on using a one-finger method, as I had to be really careful to leave the decks untouched. We chose the mahogany stain in order to bring the gunwales as close to the colour of the interior as possible. All the counter-sunk holes in the outer gunwales had to be stained using q-tips along with several unstained places that I found between the gunwales. Not staining those would have really bothered me every time I used the canoe. When finished I was very pleased with the result. The canoe would now have to totally dry before the next step, varnishing. A job for my next working day.
My final job of day 12 was to complete the caning of the seats. Once I finished the diagonal caning on both seats, the final finish trim had to be done. After Roger showed me how to do it, I finally completed the job. Another time-consuming task was done.
Then came the painful part. Due to Roger’s and my schedule I was now facing a two-week delay before I could return for day 13. Oh no!! How was I going to survive? We are so close to completing. (Maybe it really will be Christmas before I finish. OK, maybe not — but perhaps Thanksgiving?) This time my CRWS (yes, that dreaded Canoe Restoration Withdrawal Syndrome) will definitely kick in again. Is there therapy for this thing??
After a sad goodbye to the beautiful blue canoe (and Chaucer) I drove home. At least I have tons of pictures to keep me going. Till next time…